Designing Strategies: The Blog
So many web sites for both small and larger companies are just too generic and downright boring. Nothing is there to make the company stand out. Nothing is there to encourage visitors who found the site to look around or buy, or ever come back again. In many cases, these web sites are the only on-line marketing being done by a firm. It’s hard to believe their only marketing effort of the many Internet marketing channels available, presents their company, products or services as so, vanilla. Instead of presenting themselves as Rocky Road or Toasted Almond Fudge or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, they chose vanilla to represent their their public flavor. No excitement.
Their very vanilla Home page includes vague, not very interesting information about the company, it’s products and services. Nothing to urge visitors to take any action or take the next step in developing a business relationship. You could look at half a dozen other web sites in their industry and they’d all be similar. A lot of web site traffic will enter and bounce from these types of Home pages; nothing of interest. No stickiness.
Let’s say you arrive at one of these web sites and in spite of the lackluster Home page, you decide to stick around and dig a bit deeper. You might move on to their ‘About’ page. Same company image is found there, generic, unexciting nothingness. Maybe they posted something about the industry as a whole, and a bit of the history of the company. But, little more of interest to keep visitors on the site or encourage them to move forward toward an actual sale. No calls to action.
You’ve seen the type: XYZ Inc was started in 1919 in Limboland selling rug beaters door-to-door. Five years later the firm moved to a bigger building in Nowheresville and began beating customers rugs for them. Over the years, the company continued to grow, added some carpet stain removal products, and now has three locations to serve our customers. Ho-hum. Big deal. Who cares? This approach is stale, sterile and not the least bit inviting to visitors. No compelling story about the company.
Absolutely no mention is made of the founders, who is running the company today or ran the company to grow it to its current position as an industry leader. No pictures of these industry titans, or their facilities. There is no mention of the founders or leaders, or images to bring them to life. Nothing more is provided than a vague notion that someone must have done something in the background to keep the firm in business and growing. No living, breathing people who brought the company to life.
The company certainly didn’t materialize from nowhere. Someone or some group started the company, put in the effort and sweat equity to grow and expand it. Who were they? Why weren’t they important enough to the company to be mentioned? Who works at the company today? What are their names? What do they look like? Exactly who will answer the phone or help me if I contact the company? Who is going to sell me their product? No reference to people customers can know, like and trust.
Customers do business with people they know, like and trust; not non-descript businesses or web sites. The first step toward the know-like-trust level is to include images of your staff, their position or a brief job description. Even better, add a short paragraph about each one that makes them real, live people customers will want to get to know.
Think about how to make your web site bring your company to life. Humanity can make a major difference in the relationship side of doing business.
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Anyone who watches late night TV is the recipient of numerous marketing messages from non-profits trying to raise money to save children or victims of natural disasters Only the most hard-hearted can turn away from the captivating stories being told of the pain and destitution these people face. Those of us in other businesses can learn valuable lessons from those commercials aimed at raising funds to support their efforts.
Think about it. What do all of these fundraising advertisements have in common? They tell stories, usually very sad stories, that tug at our hearts. They show dismal living conditions. They talk about lack of food and care. They cite statistics about how many children or adults or families need our help. They tell of dire situations that we can help change with a small monthly donation to their charity.
These commercials are unforgettable for the average person. They introduce us to people in need of help - our help. They are all about people – the victims and us. In marketing vernacular, they use personalized case studies. Marketing and sales are all about people too – customers, manufacturers, product developers, service providers — they are all people interacting in business relationships.
Those on the seller side of the transaction hope to influence someone on the buyer side with their product or service to help them, to ease their pain or solve their problem. Buyers are searching for the idal someone or something to do just those things for them. Customers and prospects are all individuals, not just abstract numbers in your accounting software and marketing metrics.
Review your marketing pieces and messages. Decide if they speak to people, about people with similar problems and situations. Tell customers how your product or service helped someone, their family or groups with similar needs. The adage goes: ‘People do business with people they know, like and trust.’ Do your messages help customers – people – know, like and trust you, your product and your company? If not, it’s time to make some changes to your strategic marketing plan.
In most cases, our stories won’t be anywhere near as heartbreaking as those shared by charitable organizations. So, while they’re on your mind, take a few minutes to visit the Save the Children web site Gift Catalog and consider buying a goat, a soccer ball or some books, or donate to feed or educate a child. All of us are in a position to make the world a little bit better for children and families in need. I know where my next meal is coming from, and so do you. Please help someone who doesn’t.